Weak Hadeeth – Beginning of Ramadan is Mercy, its Middle is Forgiveness and its End is freedom from the Fire
The alleged hadeeth referred to that contains the reference to Ramadaan, as being divided into three so-called parts is a well known, albeit a very weak narration.
This has been narrated in two different ways:
Shaykh al-Albani (rahimahullaah) mentions in his “Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth al-Da’eefah wa’l-Mawdoo’ah”, vol. 4/70. no. 1569:
1569 – ” أول شهر رمضان رحمة وأوسطه مغفرة وآخره عتق من النار “.
أخرجه العقيلي في ” الضعفاء ” (172) وابن عدي (165 / 1) والخطيب في ” الموضح ” (2 / 77) والديلمي (1 / 1 / 10 – 11) وابن عساكر (8 / 506 / 1) عن سلام بن سوار عن مسلمة بن الصلت عن الزهري عن أبي سلمة عن أبي هريرة قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: فذكره.
وقال العقيلي: ” لا أصل له من حديث الزهري “.
قلت: وقال ابن عدي: ” وسلام (ابن سليمان بن سوار) هو عندي منكر الحديث، ومسلمة ليس بالمعروف “. وكذا قال الذهبي.
ومسلمة قد قال فيه أبو حاتم: ” متروك الحديث ” كما في ترجمته من ” الميزان “، ويأتي له حديث آخر برقم (1580) .
“The first part of the month of Ramadaan is mercy, the middle of it is forgiveness and the end of it is freedom from the Fire.”
This hadeeth is Munkar (rejected).
It has been reported by Al-‘Uqaylee in Ad-Du’afaah (172), Ibn ‘Adee (1/165), Al-Khateeb in Al-Muwadih (2/77), Ad-Daylamee (1/1/10-11) and Ibn ‘Asaakir (8/506/1) from Sallaam Bin Sawwar from Maslamah Bin As-Salt from az-Zuhree from Abi Salamah from Abu Hurayrah who said that the messenger of Allaah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: …. and then mentioned the above hadeeth.
Al-‘Uqaylee said: “It has no basis of it to be from the hadeeth narrated by az-Zuhree”
I say: Ibn ‘Adee said: “Sallaam (ibn Sulayman ibn Sawwar) is in my view rejected in Hadeeth and Maslamah in not known.” And this is also said by adh-Dhahabi.
Abu Haatim said about Maslamah that he is matrook in Hadeeth (i.e. his ahadeeth are abandoned) as mentioned in the translation of “al-Meezan” and it comes at the end of the hadeeth number 1580.
So, the isnaad of the hadeeth is da’eef (weak) for the following reasons, which are:
♦ Its chain of narrators contain “Sallaam ibn Sulayman ibn Sawwar” whose hadeeth is munkar (rejected)
♦ Its chain of narrators also contain “Maslamah ibn As-Salt” who is not known and also is abandoned in hadeeth (matrook al-hadeeth). See: “Meezan al-‘Itidaal”, 4/109, no. 8523.
It is a long narration and contains references to many falsehoods and innovated beliefs that are often repeated among the ignorant speakers and books that circulate during this special month of the year.
Since so many misconceptions concerning the blessed month of Ramadaan find their origin in this single hadeeth, it is worth mentioning the entire narration, inshaa’Allaah, and show its weakness in its chain of narrators, along with the comments made by some of the hadeeth Scholars of the Salaf regarding its weakness.
He said: (بَابُ فَضَائِلِ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ إِنَّ صَحَّ الْخَبَرُ) ‘Chapter on the virtues of the month of Ramadaan if the report is saheeh.‘
Then he said: ‘Ali ibn Hijr al-Sa’di told us, Yoosuf ibn Ziyaad told us, Humaam ibn Yahya told us, from ‘Ali ibn Zayd ibn Jad’aan, from Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyab, from Salmaan who said: The Messenger of Allaah (salaa Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) addressed us on the last day of Sha’baan and said:
“O people, there has come to you a great month, a blessed month, a month in which there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Allaah has made fasting it obligatory and spending its nights in prayer a voluntary act. Whoever draws close (to Allaah) during it by doing a good deed will be like one who did an obligatory deed in any other month, and the one who does an obligatory deed in it will be like one who did seventy obligatory deeds in any other month.
It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Paradise. It is the month of helping others. It is a month in which the believer’s provision is increased. Whoever gives a fasting person food with which to break his fast will have his sins forgiven and he will be ransomed from the Fire, and he will have a reward like his without it detracting from his reward in the slightest.”
They (the companions then) said: Not all of us can find something to give to the fasting person with which to break his fast. The Messenger of Allaah (salaa Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) then said: “Allaah will give this reward to the one who gives a fasting person a date or a drink of water or a sip of milk.
It is a month the beginning of which is mercy, the middle of which is forgiveness and the end of which is ransom from the Fire.
The one who reduces the burden for his slave will be forgiven by Allaah, and He will ransom him from the Fire. So do a lot of four good deeds during it, two with which you will please your Lord and two which you cannot do without. As for the two good deeds with which you will please your Lord, they are bearing witness that there is no god except Allaah, and seeking His forgiveness.
As for those which you cannot do without, they are: asking Allaah for Paradise and seeking refuge with Him from Hell. Whoever feeds a fasting person until he is full, Allaah will give him to drink from my Cistern, a drink after which he will not thirst again until he enters Paradise.”
This hadeeth was narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah in his Saheeh, 3/191, no. 1887. Before mentioning this hadeeth in his Saheeh, 3/191, no. 1887, he added in the chapter name (إِنَّ صَحَّ الْخَبَرُ), “If the report is saheeh …” but the word ‘if’ was omitted in some references such as al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb by al-Mundhiri (2/95), so they thought that Ibn Khuzaymah said, “The report is saheeh,” although he did not state that.
It was also narrated by al-Mahaamili in al-Amaali (293); by al-Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Eemaan (7/216); Fadaa’il al-Awqaat, p. 146, no. 37; by Abu’l-Shaykh Ibn Hibbaan in Kitaab al-Thawaab; it was attributed to him by al-Saa’aati in al-Fath al-Rabbaani (9/233); it was mentioned by al-Suyooti in al-Durr al-Manthoor, and he said, it was narrated by al-‘Aqeeli and he classed it as da’eef (weak); it was mentioned by al-Isbahaani in al-Targheeb, and by al-Munaqqi in Kanz al-‘Ummaal (8/477). All of them narrated it via Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib from Salmaan al-Faarisi.
Ibn Abee Haatim reports from his father in ’Ilalul Hadeeth (1/249) that he said, “The hadeeth is munkar!”
Shaykh al-Albani (rahimahullaah) mentions about this in his “Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth al-Da’eefah wa’l-Mawdoo’ah”, vol. 2/262. no. 871 that this hadeeth is “munkar” (rejected). Then he goes on to say on the same page:
قلت: وهذا سند ضعيف من أجل علي بن زيد بن جدعان، فإنه ضعيف كما قال أحمد وغيره، وبين السبب الإمام ابن خزيمة فقال: ” لا أحتج به لسوء حفظه “.
I say: This chain is weak due to ‘Alee ibn Zayd ibn Jud’aan and that he is weak as was said by Ahmad and other than him. And (this is) among the reasons why Imam ibn Khuzaymah said : “I do not accept him as a proof due to his weak memory.”
The shaykh then added and said,
ولذلك لما روى هذا الحديث في صحيحه قرنه بقوله: ” إن صح الخبر “.
قلت: وفي إخراج ابن خزيمة لمثل هذا الحديث في ” صحيحه ” إشارة قوية إلى أنه قد يورد فيه ما ليس صحيحا عنده منبها عليه
This is why before narrating this hadeeth in his Saheeh, he added along with it “If it is Saheeh”.
The shaykh then says:
And such an addition (of the condition ‘If it is true’) before this hadeeth of Ibn Khuzaymah in his “Saheeh” is a strong indication to the fact that perhaps, what has been stated is not true in his view, a warning to act upon it.
But some of the authors of “نصرة الخلفاء الراشدين والصحابة” were ignorant about this reality. They mention on the cover of their book: “The Hadeeth (of this book) were verified by the `Alim, the Faadhil, the custodian of the Hadeeth…”, but they say on page 34: “It was reported by Ibn Khuzaimah in his “Saheeh” and he authenticated it.”
So, the isnaad of the hadeeth is da’eef (weak) for the following reasons, which are:
♦ There is a break in the chain of narrators, because Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib did not hear it from Salmaan al-Faarisi (may Allaah be pleased with him).
♦ Its isnaad includes ‘Ali ibn Zayd ibn Jad’aan, of whom Ibn Sa’d said: “There is some weakness in him and he cannot be quoted as evidence. He was classed as da’eef (weak) by Ahmad, Ibn Ma’een, al-Nasaa’i, Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Jawzjaani and others, as it says in Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, 5/207.
Ibn Khuzaymah himself said, “I do not accept him as a proof due to his weak memory.” (at-Tadheeb, 7/322-323).
Ibn Hajr al Asqalaanee says in al-Atraaf, “It is narrated by ‘Alee ibn Zayd ibn Jud’aan alone and he is weak”. (as-Suyootee quotes this from him in Jam’ul Jawaami (24,714).
♦ Its isnaad also includes Yoosuf ibn Ziyaad al-Basri, whose hadeeth is munkar as said by al-Bukharee and Abu Haatim mentioned in Meezan al’itidaal 4/465 no. 9868.
an-Nasa’i said that he is not reliable. ibn-Adee said that he is not known.
♦ It also includes Humaam ibn Yahya ibn Dinaar al-‘Awadi, concerning whom Ibn Hajar said in al-Taqreeb: He is trustworthy but he may make mistakes.
Abu Haatim al-Raazi judged the hadeeth to be munkar (a kind of weak hadeeth). Al-‘Ayni said likewise in ‘Umdat al-Qaari’, 9/20.
So it becomes clear that the isnaad of this hadeeth and similar reports are all da’eef (weak), and that the muhadditheen (scholars of hadeeth) judged it to be munkar, in addition to the fact that it contains some phrases whose authenticity is subject to further examination, such as its dividing the month into three parts, saying that the first ten days are mercy, then forgiveness, then ransom from the Fire. There is no evidence for this, rather the bounty of Allaah is immense, all of Ramadaan is mercy and forgiveness, and there are those whom Allaah ransoms from the Fire every night and at the time of breaking the fast, as is proven by the ahaadeeth.
Moreover, in this hadeeth it says, “Whoever draws near to Allaah during this month by doing some good deeds is like one who does an obligatory action.” There is no evidence for this, rather naafil actions are naafil and obligatory actions are obligatory in Ramadaan and at other times.
This hadeeth also says, “and the one who does an obligatory action during this month is like one who does seventy obligatory actions at any other times.” This number is subject to further examination, because a good deed earns a reward between ten and seven hundred times in Ramadaan and at other times, and nothing is exempted from that apart from fasting, for its reward is immense and unlimited, because of the hadeeth qudsi: “Every deed of the son of Adam is for him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.” (Agreed upon; narrated from Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him).
We must beware of da’eef (weak) hadeeth and make sure of their status before we speak of them. We must strive to find out the saheeh ahaadeeth about the virtues of Ramadaan. May Allaah grant us all strength and accept our fasting, night prayers and all our good deeds.